With fiscally-conservatives parties in power in most provinces and deficits plaguing nearly all of them, contentious labour negotiations with entrenched public-sector unions seem inevitable, and strikes are very likely to follow. Ontario’s current teachers’ strike is thus a sign of things to come, with Alberta probably close behind. So how should politicians prepare themselves for the pain of long, drawn-out public sector strikes – perhaps even avoiding the typical ignominious climb-down? Peter Shawn Taylor reveals how one provincial government came up with a simple, parent-friendly strategy to buy itself time for credible negotiations.
Few Canadians have any connection to our depleted military, fewer still enlist, and the number who consider joining a special branch of a foreign country’s forces that began as a way to soak up society’s dregs must be vanishingly small. Yet that was the path chosen by Joel Struthers, and his five years spent in the French Foreign Legion don’t seem to have done him any lasting harm. Peter Shawn Taylor shows that the historical aura of the kepi-clad brawlers still exerts a romantic tug on certain modern-day hearts in this fond portrayal of one Canadian’s life in the Legion and his remarkable work since getting out intact.
Amidst the divisions cleaving Western society in the 1960s and 1970s, one thing seemingly everyone came to agree upon was the importance of equality before the law. But almost as soon as this hard-fought concept was universally accepted, it came under direct assault – often by its former champions. Today officially-sanctioned discrimination in the name of equality of outcomes is commonplace – and getting worse. Peter Shawn Taylor reports on the newest “Canadian value”: a Crown corporation charging different prices for different races.
Justin Trudeau’s weird propensity to slather his face, his body and even his tongue in brown or black makeup provided ample material for low comedy, high dudgeon and genuine thoughtfulness – a teaching moment, if you will. Instead, the multiple revelations were soon hijacked by fakery: fake anger, fake apologies and fake history. There’s been nary a whisper of humour, save perhaps the wag who dubbed Trudeau Canada’s “Prime Minstrel”. Mainly, there’s been weary resignation and rationalization from Liberal supporters. Peter Shawn Taylor takes a balanced look at an immense and fraught subject – blackface – and explains why Trudeau’s crass campaign to save his neck does damage to culture, history, art and freedom.
In few areas do our opinions veer as wildly based purely on our point of view as on the topic of traffic. As pedestrians, we cast the stink-eye at any encroaching driver – even while jaywalking blithely towards a “Don’t Walk” light. As residents, we yell “Slow down!” at every second passing motorist. But once behind the wheel, we fume as traffic crawls, gratuitous signage proliferates and every errand or commute lengthens. This inner fragmentation is like a bright green light for municipal politicians and bureaucrats bent on making life miserable for motorists, for we become all-but incapable of resistance. Peter Shawn Taylor illuminates the campaign in cities across Canada to deliberately clog our streets in the name of safety.
The voracious need for self-abasement among Western elites appears to have outstripped the supply of victimized groups that can become the focus of grovelling, apology and pay-offs. That is one way to read the federal Liberals’ latest apology, which goes beyond merely stretching reality, distorting facts or ignoring historical context. Peter Shawn Taylor reports on how last month’s $20 million payoff to Canada’s Inuit for an alleged sled-dog slaughter half a century ago that never actually happened simply stands the truth on its head.
Official regret – often delivered with a perfectly moistened eye and quavering voice – has been expressed by our prime minister for a seemingly endless parade of old injustices. Native schoolchildren, gays and lesbians, Sikh immigrants, Jewish refugees, six British Columbia chiefs hanged following the Chilcotin War and Inuit populations suffering from tuberculosis have all received a mea culpa from Ottawa. But does such federal self-abasement correspond to what actually happened? Peter Shawn Taylor casts a gimlet eye at Mexico’s efforts to blame 16th century Spain for present-day complaints and finds that the truth sometimes comes down on the side of colonialism.
Tom Flanagan’s new book The Wealth of First Nations comes at a time when more and more Indigenous leaders and communities are embracing the market economy, resource development, and entrepreneurship. Across every social and economic metric, the Makers are outperforming the Takers, which points the way to less dependence, more integration, and even, perhaps, true reconciliation.
Ottawa’s promise to rescue many dozens of dying Indigenous languages and effectively give them equivalent status with English and French has billion-dollar boondoggle written all over it. Peter Shawn Taylor makes a powerful case for letting lost tongues die a natural death.
The practice of opening public events with a statement acknowledging that the event is occurring on land covered by an Indian treaty really took off after the 2015 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Among its 94 “calls to action” is a demand to “repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands”. The rite has become ubiquitous in Canadian public life, and now often refers to “unceded” land, even though treaty land was, in fact, ceded to Canada by the chiefs who signed the Treaties. Far from advancing “reconciliation”, writes Peter Shawn Taylor, this fiction is fueling division between those who are constantly told Canada is theirs, and everyone else.